From ‘nothing’ to ‘something’

Saturday January 04, 2020 Written by Published in Features
Former Tereora College student Nigel Hoeflich (second from left) pictured after his presentation to Tereora college Year 9 classes. 19120910. Former Tereora College student Nigel Hoeflich (second from left) pictured after his presentation to Tereora college Year 9 classes. 19120910.

Nigel Hoeflich a former student of Tereora college (he quit after three years), was happy last month to take up an invitation by teachers to share his story, “of coming from nothing to something.”

He spoke of his personal struggles of growing up, of being a rebellious kid, and the passing of his father, at a seminar for Year 9 students focused on ‘resilience’.


In 2011Hoeflich joined a sports academy run by Kevin Iro for six months, participated in the  Rarotonga Youth With A Mission disciple training school and lived in Hong Kong for three months, continuing the programme.

In 2012 his eldest child was born, Hoeflich then moved to Ashburton, New Zealand, to work for five months and help support his family. His two younger brothers were attending Avatea primary school and his mother was looking after his dad.

He says losing his father to an illness in 2014 was his wake-up call to face responsibility and change his “bad-as” attitude.

“After he died, I realised, I can’t stuff up anymore.”

To other youngsters who are struggling with themselves or social issues, he advises: “Just carry on, take that negative energy and turn it into a positive energy to drive you forward.”

In the past Hoeflich says he would react and give hate back to others who treated him that way. Now he just lets it all go away.

“I learnt this myself. I take peoples’ negative comments about me and turn it into fuel, to drive myself further forward.

“One was hate, and jealousy. Now, if I hear it, I put it all aside, ignore it. I’m happy now.”

Today he is a father to three “wonderful” children - Roimata, Salome and Temaeva, to his partner Haylee.

He is also the proud owner of  the “3 Brothers”, a barber shop located at Super Brown in Nikao.

“I just focus on my kids and my work.”

Today, “I do everything with a positive attitude, I keep the faith.”

Hoeflich’s presentation inspired pupil Jesse Toa, “because he shared his struggles with us and how he overcame them”.

Taonge Poila says he was happy to hear what Hoeflich has achieved, despite all of his many struggles, “he has done good and continues to do good”.

Hoeflich’s journey of growing up and working many jobs trying to provide for his siblings and family, and now owning his own business and having a family, is motivating says Kianna Pomare. “He has done well, look at him today.”

Teacher Merle Pukurua was happy Hoeflich agreed to speak at the session. She was teaching when he was a student.

“Although he left school early, he never gave up, he kept on and never gave up pursuing his dreams.”

Hoeflich has been through a lot in life, more than some other kids, although he had to move overseas, he returned and now runs his own business, she says proudly.

The Year 9 educators Pukerua, Taiti Hosking, Ana Makara and Christina Ganivatu chose the virtue topic of ‘resilience’.

“We felt the students need to know this important value in a world that tears people down so easily, Ganivatu says.

“Sometimes our children feel that they are not good enough and that they need to be in the bigger nations to be able to find success.

“Through the different activities, we hope that our children will know that to be resilient is to not give up and to not use your circumstances as an excuse for not trying.”

Seminar speakers included James Talbot who spoke of his experience walking for the Creative Centre. Melina Tuiravakai spoke on climate change and resilience and Nikki Rattle on coping skills. Hoeflich’s presentation focused on how to overcome issues that arise in life.

Tereora teachers expressed their thanks to the presenters who shared their stories.


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